Tag Archives: B-Squared Woodworks

Home Office Makeover – Know When to Go Pro (Part One: Power Tools)

10 Jan
Before: Not conducive to world domination.

Before: Not conducive to world domination.

Since March, yours truly has been running the soon-to-be-world-d0minant Red Chair Market conglomerate (a division of Erichope Industries) out of her home office.  For those of you who work from home, you know that the joys of working until 3 in your PJs and taking calls while unloading the dishwasher are sometimes offset by the tsunami of stuff most of us have to cram in to our “work” space.  My office doubles as Mr. Handsome’s office, the family filing center, the room of banishment when the kids get loud, and the guest room.  I’m all for small-ish houses, but I would KILL for a real guest room.  And a basement.  My sister, Ms. Almost Perfect (but thankfully dorky enough you can’t hate her) has an enormous basement, and I came home from her house seething with more envy than I ever felt in our adolescence.

But back to the office.  My mother (Ms. McGuyver) visits two or three times a year, and I think this last time it finally was too much for her.  After tripping over a huge stack of papers in her “room” she offered to finance the built-ins we have been dreaming of.  My mother truly deserves her McGuyver moniker (remember the carpet story?), so I’m lucky she didn’t suggest that she and I “just” build them ourselves like she suggested that we “just” re-drywall the living room.  I am proud to say that I can hang drywall, but it’s kind of like saying I’m proud I survived a plane crash.  Not something I want to do again.

Cabinets in progress

Cabinets being built with real tools by grownups.

So I turned to a pro, David Benitez from B-Squared Woodworks, who had done some kitchen cabinets for us.  He is a true craftsman and did absolutely amazing work the first time.  Among my  many home-improvement misadventures I can count the attempt to put up crown molding with just a hand saw and a hammer (if you’ve ever tried this you know it was a disaster). David not only knows how to make everything fit together perfectly, but  he does it with grownup tools with electricity and everything.  And lasers, he has lasers.

Laser level

A laser level is better than “eyeballing” it, trust me.

While he was building them, we cleared out the old bookcase and cabinet and sold them on Red Chair Market (natch).  However we clearly did not do enough weeding out.

Where do we get all this junk?

Where do we get all this junk?

Mr. Handsome and I spent New Year’s Day filling them up with all our stuff, and we have somehow ruined them. Turns out we have a lot of crap, and most of it’s not very pretty.  Given all the functions this room has to serve, we can’t just put up a few leather-bound tomes and sit back with our brandy.

So we’re turning to a pro again, this time Mary from Redux Home Staging and Design, who is going to help us make sense of all this stuff. Stay tuned for Part Two!

A couple of tips for making built-ins office-efficient:

  • Make a list of all the things you’ll need to be storing so that you’ll have a place for everything (we had a file drawer built in). Do you need more or less covered space?  We considered having doors put on the right side shelves to hide the junk.
  • We happened to have several outlets along the wall we were covering, so David worked around them so they’re accessible through the lower drawers and cabinets. He cut the corners cut out of the shelves so you can run cords through them; this way we can have electronics on the shelves. I highly recommend you have outlets put in if you don’t have them, your carpenter can help you design them in the right spot.
  • Make sure at least some of the shelves are deep enough to accommodate bigger items, like a printer.  That’s why we had the lower cabinet section made at 18″ deep.
  • Make sure at least some of the shelves are adjustable so they can accommodate larger items like a TV.
  • Mix up the storage, we have a pull-out file drawer, a top-opening drawer and three small cabinets.

Update: See how it all turned out in Part Two!